Shooting For Success

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The sound of basketballs ringing off the hoop at the AlexanderTeen Center has been occurring for nearly two months since itsgrand opening in November. However, like shooting a basket,attendance has been hit or miss.

“I would like to see more children in,” said CAFE A+ PresidentSteven Keys. “But, it’s going to take time.”

After the center was closed for six to eight years, CAFE A+received the deed to the building in 2005. After $18,000 inrenovations, funded mostly by the community, the activity centerreopened its doors toward the end of November.

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Keys said the up and down attendance is most likely due to poorweather conditions and a lack of schedule.

The building is currently warmed by space heaters and Keys saidit takes a little while to heat the 90 feet by 56 feet building,which he said may be keeping some children away. Keys also said thebuilding has been opened or closed based on when he is able tosupervise, and his schedule has been dictated by his daughters’basketball games.

“Once it gets started, judging by past history, I’m confidentthat (attendance) will pick up,” said Keys. “So, it’s no bigdeal.”

Keys did mention when the center has been open, there have beenupwards of 15 children shooting around the building’s bluecourt.

“They like it,” said Keys. “There were times they didn’t want toleave.”

The Alexander Teen Center also held its first dance in December,and had planned a second dance in January. However, a poor showingat the first dance caused the organization to scrap the Januaryfunction.

“I knew it was going to be a growing process,” said Keys. “Wejust have to find the right activities.”

The center could see the addition of a pingpong table,volleyball net and a computer in the future to help expand thebuilding’s use to more than just basketball.

Keys said the building will be open on a more consistentschedule in February. He said he is planning to keep it openMonday, Wednesday and Friday from 3:30 until 5:15 p.m.

In addition to fun, Keys said the Alexander Teen Center willalso offer a tutoring program. The CAFE A+ president mentioned thatstudents from Brookhaven High School and Loyd Star High School haveshown interest in leading peer-to-peer tutoring.

“They would be able to communicate with students, since they arecloser to what the other children would be doing,” said Keys.

Despite fluctuating attendance, Keys said CAFE A+ has receivedoverwhelming feedback from parents.

“We probably have more parents excited about the teen centerbecause of memories and the times they had in here,” said Keys.

The organization is planning a social function sometime inFebruary for those young enough to remember their old stompinggrounds.

“This was all we had,” said Keys. “It was a big to do for us tocome to the teen center.”

Keys also mentioned the organization is kicking around the ideaof opening the building for low-impact exercise for older people towalk and possibly an aerobics class.

“We’re going to keep adding until we know exactly what thecommunity wants,” said Keys. “We’ll get to that happy medium whereeveryone is happy, hopefully.”